रविवार, ८ ऑगस्ट, २०२१

Grief..!





‘And what else is left in the world except coffee..!’

Raghu got up in disgust, threw a glance over the entire room once again, released a sigh and headed towards his mini chaotic kitchen.

He was feeling some kind of forceless, aimless, fearless state. A mad smile on his face. In the same trance, he peeped into the fridge to check if there was some milk. But instead, he saw the raw mango jam in a plastic can rapped with polythene and for a while, came out of that illusive trance and felt the same unbearable pain once again. The painful memory he was running away from, but heading nowhere he was ending up in the same loop again and again.

He took that jam, sat down. That cold feel, he felt again. Remembered again. A Day before ana left, she had made this delicious jam for him..

 

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“Raghu.. what a spoiled man you are.. you call this a house? What a mess! No man, I cant see myself living here..”

Ana was talking continuously while peeling raw mangoes, chopping them up, then frying.. so n so n so..

Raghu, sitting in his chair in the corner, was effortlessly observing ana, being completely deaf to her talks. His fingers were smoothly flying over the canvas.. he was aptly portraying her restless yet lovely gestures.. his oils and brushes were behaving like being in deep love with her.

Jam was concentrating.. ana looked at him for a while, and shouted,

“raghuuu.. I’m talking to you. stop doing that. You have enough paintings of me now. You can even arrange a separate exhibition if you want. Talk to me.. for a while..”

“oh ana darling.. you aren’t talking about the amazing rain, neither the sunsets, and nor even about the sweet lily just sprouted in my messy window.. how can you expect me to talk?” he replied mischievously, sticking to what he was doing.

Ana opened her mouth to shout at him but instead kept staring at the floor distressfully. She knew Raghu for a while now. He was a complete artist material.. poetic mind.. fearless, careless attitude.. actually she used to love him for all those things. But, gradually, when frost of new love fades away, reality becomes visible, she understood that Raghu is a fabulous lover, extraordinary person but, he can not be a partner in day to day life. If one wants to live with him, firstly he should make up his mind to live with a child. Yes, Raghu was an impractical child who knew nothing about the responsibilities, the practical realities of the world. he used to live in his own world of poetry, colours, and all the abstract artistic concepts. he knew nothing about how to earn money, he never even wanted to earn them.  thanks to his parents who had passed away years before, they had left sufficient things behind for raghu to survive or more elaborately to live a comfort life. but, ironically he hardly needed that. soon after finishing his art school, he and his abstract paintings gained praise and love both from critiques and artlovers. ten years since then, he now was a well known creative figure in Goan art circle. his paintings were making good money!

After that devastating road trajedy, raghu, who then was about 17 years old, moved away from that big house and shifted here, away from the city, into a small penthouse his father had built many years ago. he could not stand the memories of his mother and father engraved on each and every block of that lavish house. that lamentfully vacant place he found so daunting to breathe in. he left it forever.

 

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raghu stood up after a while. wiped his tears fallen on the can of jam. kept it back into the fridge. he didnt taste it. actually he hadn’t taste it since it was made.

 

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freshly made jam, Ana insisted him to taste. he didnt even move his eyes from the canvas. her eyes filled with small teardrops. after a tremendously tough day she had arrived here to see Raghu and be with him for a while. she even skipped her prayer at the chappel today. the smell of aspirin, cold-feelingless eyes and gestures of her fellow nursing staff at the hospital, shimmering fingers of little lily who was fighting with cancer from last two years, and her last breathe today, she took while looking into Ana’s eyes. ana was broken. devastated. she was supposed to carry on further procedures as a medical staff. but she was crying with mute lips. lily’s cute little talks were poping into her mind again and again. her innocent questions, her cheerful presense despite that horrific treatment she was undergoing.. tears were flooding from ana’s eyes. she was unable to explain to her fellow staff how painful it was to not having able to see lily at her bed nowonwards. she was asked to take a day off. but ana didnt. she wiped her tears. continued her job till the evening and then left for raghu’s place thoughtlessly

 

Giving a final touch to the painting, Raghu looked around. He wanted to gift it to ana tomorrow as her birthday gift. But, He didn’t find her in the kitchen, nor in the house or the garden. She was left. Raghu, disappointed, came back to the painting, the yummy sweet and sour smell of the freshly made jam attracted his senses. House was filled with that smell. He rushed to the fridge, and was about to open it, his phone rang..

‘hello.. Raghu I’m katherin your neighbour.. hey man, I just saw Ana leaving your house.. where’s she going at this time?

Listen Raghu, the road connecting to the town is flooded.. stop ana, weather isn’t good today..’

he hung up the phone and rushed out. Dim lights, continuous rain, vacant roads.. he started his car, called ana again and again.. her phone was ringing but she wasn’t receiving the call.. he drove in the panic.. his eyes were searching for Ana and her scooter. There was nobody on the road.. steep road, rain.. after few minutes he came across the furiously flowing mandovi river and the flood like situation she had brought up with her.. bridge was drowned.. few men standing there stopped Raghu.. Raghu agitated.. but those policemen didn’t allow him to go further..

‘a girl just drowned..’

‘what??? Which girl??’  Raghu was shivering..

‘don’t know who she was.. we warned her.. but she didn’t even stopped.. drove her scooter across the bridge.. and then..’

‘no.. no.. was she wearing a Blue top? A blue top??’

No one answered.. they rushed to stop other vehicles..

Raghu was devastated. He Made some phone calls.. used his contacts.. but by the morning he just got successful in finding Ana’s body.. her dead body!

 

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Two months since the incident, Raghu still hadn’t come out of the trauma. He hadn’t even cried since then. hadn’t touched his brushes since then.. he wasn’t even wanting to anymore. His Ana had left him forever.. For Ever! The painting of her he painted that night was his last one.. he kept staring at it.. and regretting not having talked to her that night..  

Now, the spring was over. That devastating storm had passed. Monsoons were on there way..

He got up. Went to the kitchen. Opened the fridge. Took the jam. Came out and sat on the steps opening into his messy garden. Opened the can. Smelled the jam. a teardrop in his eyes. He gathered all his mental strength, and tasted the jam.. ohhh what a delicious taste it had!.. he started crying like a baby.. ‘ohh my Ana..’ he cried a lot.. a lot..

After a while.. he saw a small lily just sprouted in the soil.. unknowingly.. he got up.. kissed that sweet little thing.. and smiled, looking at the sky.. In that moment, may be, he surrendered himself to his grief unconditionally..

His heart was now filled with The sweet and sour taste of the jam..

 

 

Sanjeevani Deshpande 

 

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